Middle East Alliances. Old and New.

Tikkun note: Thanks to our media ally tomdispatch.com for sharing the article below by Rebecca Gordon. And first, a brief part of an introduction to her piece by their editor Tom Engelhardt.

A Tale of American Hubris

A Tale of American Hubris
Or Five Lessons in the History of American Defeat 
By Tom Engelhardt

The lessons of history? Who needs them? Certainly not Washington’s present cast of characters, a crew in flight from history, the past, or knowledge of more or less any sort. Still, just for the hell of it, let’s take a few moments to think about what some of the lessons of the last years of the previous century and the first years of this one might be for the world’s most exceptional and indispensable nation, the planet’s sole superpower, the globe’s only sheriff. Those were, of course, commonplace descriptions from the pre-Trump era and yet, in the age of MAGA, already as moldy and cold as the dust in some pharaonic tomb.

War Is a Lie by David Swanson

By David Swanson

Syria All Wrong and Backwards

In the park today I saw a teenager watching two little kids, one of whom apparently stole a piece of candy from the other. The teenager rushed up to the two of them, reprimanded one of them, and stole both of their bicycles. I felt like it was my turn to step in at that point, and I confronted the bicycle thief. “Excuse me,” I said, “what makes you think you can commit a larger crime just because you witnessed a smaller one? Who do you think you are?” He stared at me for a while, and replied: “the U.S. military.”

There is no crime larger than war.

We Never Needed to Use an Atomic Bomb–not in WWII, NEVER

By Anthony Gronowicz

This entire race to mutual destruction began with the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that were militarily unnecessary:

President Truman misled the American people into thinking that Hiroshima and Nagasaki that  were military targets. The reason for the bombing is that the Soviet Union had acceded to an Anglo-American request to enter the war against Japan the very day that Nagasaki was bombed. The bomb’s successful testing in July 1945 made Soviet participation unnecessary. One year earlier, the head of the Manhattan Project to build the world’s first atomic bomb, General Leslie Groves, had told Nobel Prize winner Joseph Rotblat that “the main purpose of the bomb was `to subdue the Russians.’”[1]

Most Americans are unaware of the anti-nuclear bomb perspective of World War II’s Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower, Five-Star Fleet Admiral of the U.S. Navy and Chief of Staff to the President William D. Leahy, and Commanding General of the United States Army Air Force Henry H. Arnold—among others. Eisenhower wrote, “… I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him [Stimson] my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly, because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives.”  Leahy concluded, “… [T] he use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan … [I]n being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages.

America’s Phony War Blitzkrieg Overseas, Sitzkrieg in the Homeland By William J. Astore

Editor’s note: Thanks to our media ally TomDispatch.com we share with you some reflections on the way the U.S. has been conducting warfare for the past 17 years without most people even noticing. It starts with an introduction by Tom Dispatch editor Tom Engelhardt. –Rabbi Michael Lerner  rabbilerner.tikkun@gmail.com

I’ve long been struck by one strange aspect of the most recent part of the American Century: just how demobilized this country has been in the midst of distant wars that have morphed and spread for almost 17 years. I was born in July 1944 into a fully mobilized country fighting World War II in Europe and the Pacific. Pearl Harbor aside, actual war was then a distant reality for most Americans, but there was no question that this nation was at war (as were both my parents: my father in the U.S. Army Air Forces, as it was then called, and my mother in the war effort at home).

A Pentagon Style Trip Down Memory Lane

You can read this online at :https://www.tikkun.org/newsite/a-pentagon-style-trip-down-memory-lane

The Light at the End of the Corner 
A Trip Down Memory Lane, Pentagon-Style 
By Tom Engelhardt   We thank Engelhardt and his TomDispatch.com, our media ally, for sharing this article with Tikkun readers. If you’re in the mood, would you consider taking a walk with me and, while we’re at it, thinking a little about America’s wars? Nothing particularly ambitious, mind you, just — if you’re up for it — a stroll to the corner. Now, admittedly, there’s a small catch here. Where exactly is that corner?  I think the first time I heard about it might have been back in January 2004 and it was located somewhere in Iraq.

The Destructive Power of Nationalism: Eric Weitz reviews Omer Bartov’s Anatomy of a Genocide and Bartov Responds

The Destructive Power of Nationalism
Eric D. Weitz

A review of:

Anatomy of a Genocide:

The Life and Death of a Town Called Buczacz

by Omer Bartov

Simon & Schuster, 2018


“Human life is cheap” in Casablanca, says Major Strasser (Conrad Veidt) to Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) in the renowned film. In Buczacz, human life was cheap, and then some —  expendable, worthless, targeted for obliteration. As Omer Bartov shows in his extraordinary new book, Buczacz, an isolated, backwater town in what is today western Ukraine, was crisscrossed by all the pathologies of twentieth-century political movements. The consequences were  devastating for the inhabitants, Jews especially, but Ukrainians and Poles as well. Not that they were the passive victims of abstract political forces or of the actions of the major powers, Habsburg Austria, Imperial and Nazi Germany, and Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union, that variously dominated the town and region.

Stop the Edging Toward War With North Korea

Being Edged Toward War With North Korea
by David McReynolds


One feels a bit helpless trying to deal with Trump and his push toward war – who is listening? If you think the points I’m making should be shared, by all means share them widely.  

There are three essential points, and many secondary ones.  

First, Trump has made a major issue of the fact that North Korean missiles could carry nuclear weapons that could strike the continental US. That is true, but somehow missing from this effort at panic, is the fact that both China and Russia have long had nuclear tipped missiles that can hit any point in the US with great accuracy.

Stopping Nuclear War …by Andrew Lichterman

Editor’s Note: Andrew Lichterman’s analysis (below and online at https://www.tikkun.org/newsite/donald-trump-destroyer-of-worlds. You can share to social media from this link and there are buttons at the end of the piece that allow you to share the piece that way) is an important review of why Trump’s threats of nuclear war are illegal, and why the underlying nationalism to which he appeals is destructive. Lichterman’s work is important to understand and circulate to others.  

Yet there is a missing element here, namely that we need to understand the legitimate fear Americans have about terrorism after 9/11 and about other irresponsible leaders (including Trump) having access to nuclear weapons.We’ve argued that the key to reducing the risk of nuclear war is not to deny the possibility of threats from other nations (the young leader of North Korea at times seems as much a delusional narcissist as Trump) but to understand that we have to focus on the core beliefs about what will bring real security. We have been arguing for the past thirty years that for both the US and  Israel the best path to achieve homeland security is to abandon the failed strategy of domination over others as the best path to homeland security and to replace that with the strtegy of generosity as manifested in Tikkun’s proposed Global Marshall Plan (Tikkun ally Congressman Keith Ellison of Minneapoli  introduced House Resolution 87 to Congress in February–supporting our reasoning for a Global Marshall Plan.

Saudis Can’t Win Their War in Yemen

Saudi Arabia is embroiled in a war in Yemen that it can’t win. Saudi Arabia seems to have bitten off more than it can chew in Yemen. On March 26, 2015, the kingdom launched Operation Decisive Storm, a broad Arab-Islamic initiative ostensibly aimed at reinstating the government of Yemeni President Abd Rabboh Mansour Hadi, whom insurgents had forced from the capital, Sanaa, a month earlier. More than two and a half years on, Saudi Arabia is no closer to its goal, embroiled in a war that it can’t win. How did the country wind up making such a strategic blunder?

EU Member States Take a Major Step Toward a European Arm

EU member states take major step toward a European army
By Peter Schwarz
14 November 2017
The European Union has taken a major step toward developing the capacity to wage war in the future independently of and, if necessary, against the United States. Foreign and defence ministers from 23 of the 28 EU member states signed a framework document on a common defence policy in Brussels on Monday. Along with Britain, which will leave the EU in 2019, only four smaller countries—Denmark, Ireland, Malta and Portugal—did not sign on to the deal. However, they can do so at any time. With the “agreement on permanent structured cooperation” (PESCO), the EU states committed themselves to close cooperation in the development and purchase of weapons, and in making available troops and equipment for joint military interventions.

North Korea: A Logical Path to Peace


Jonathan Granoff,
President Global Security Institute, UN Representative of the World Summits of Nobel Peace Laureates, and Ambassador for Peace, Security and Nuclear Disarmament of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, Chair of the International Law Section of the American Bar Association’s Task Force on Nuclear Nonproliferation and a member of Tikkun Magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board. NORTH KOREA: A LOGICAL PATH TO PEACE

11/05/2017 09:40 pm ET

(Ambassador Susan Burk, Jonathan Granoff, Ambassador Douglas Roche, President Jimmy Carter)

President Carter dignified America while in office, started no wars, and since leaving office has exemplified dignity and character and is an expert in dealing with North Korea, successfully. He has offered his help. At each news cycle we hear President Trump reiterate dangerous provocations toward North Korea, only increasing the risk of crisis leading to miscalculation resulting in war and the possibility of nuclear catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. It is shocking to reflect on how extreme his expressions on behalf of our nation actually are. He threatened to “destroy North Korea” in his recent UN speech before the General Assembly thereby defying the laws of war, which require military actions to be proportionate and discriminate between combatants and civilians, thus threatening a crime against humanity, a genocide against over 25 million people. America is a nation based on the rule of law, degrading international law degrades America.

Tom Engelhardt on Osama bin Laden’s America

Osama Bin Laden’s America 
Niger, 9/11, and Apocalyptic Humiliation
By Tom Engelhardt

Honestly, if there’s an afterlife, then the soul of Osama bin Laden, whose body wasconsigned to the waves by the U.S. Navy back in 2011, must be swimming happily with the dolphins and sharks. At the cost of the sort of spare change that Donald Trump recently offered aides and former campaign officials for their legal troubles in the Russia investigation (on which he’s unlikely to deliver) — a mere $400,000 to $500,000 — bin Laden managed to launch the American war on terror. He did so with little but a clever game plan, a few fanatical followers, and a remarkably intuitive sense of how this country works. He had those 19 mostly Saudi hijackers, a scattering of supporters elsewhere in the world, and the “training camps” in Afghanistan, but his was a ragged and understaffed movement.  And keep in mind that his sworn enemy was the country that then prided itself on being the last superpower, the final winner of the imperial sweepstakes that had gone on for five centuries until, in 1991, the Soviet Union imploded. The question was: With such limited resources, what kind of self-destructive behavior could he goad a triumphalist Washington into?

How America Spreads Global Chaos


Editor’s Note: The day before Haloween it’s traditional to focus on witches and goblins and walking skeletons and other scary things. None of those things can compare with the scare we can get by looking at the role the U.S. has played and plays today in the world–and how much worse it may soon get if the Trump Administration follows through on its threats.  Yet there is also a more nuanced story to tell. As we often say, Tikkun sends out articles and prints articles that we think have important perspectives that are rarely available in the mainstream media–even if we do not necessarily agree with them. Nicholaw Davies (article below) has a lot important facts to bolster his case, and if we look at the US government and its actions, they come out looking rather shabby, brutal, hurtful and destructive.